We haven’t been hearing much about Tesla’s next-gen Roadster lately, as the company has been keeping its focus on more practical and profitable projects. That’s probably a wise decision, but as Elon Musk would surely agree, sometimes you have to throw wisdom to the winds and have some fun.
|A look at Tesla’s next-gen Roadster (Source: Tesla)|
True to its goal of making not just the best electric cars, but the best cars, Tesla aims to make the new Roadster the most super-powered of supercars. But wait, there’s more! The YouTube channel Cleanerwatt has produced a new video that highlights some totally unique features — as in goodies no other car has ever had, or is ever likely to have — of the upcoming Roadster.
The big headline-grabber is of course the SpaceX Package, which Elon Musk elaborated upon during his recent appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast. The 10 or so rocket engines aren’t exactly rockets in the space-travel sense — they operate on compressed air, which as Elon has explained, offers “insane” power output. The (sort of) practical advantage is improved acceleration and cornering, but potential fun applications include “a thruster where the license plate flips down, James Bond-style,” and the ability to hover six feet or so above the ground, as the flying cars in any respectable future universe will be able to do.
It seems self-evident that Tesla will want to make the Roadster the quickest and fastest street-legal car ever made, and that will take some doing. The most recently-teased specs call for a 0–60-mph time under 1.9 seconds, a quarter-mile time of 8.8 seconds, and a top speed of about 250 mph. Tesla’s engineers are going to have to sharpen their virtual pencils, because as Cleanerwatt points out, the upcoming Model S Plaid+ model is already bumping up against those acceleration figures, and a Bugatti Chiron recently clocked over 300 mph. The insanely powerful rockets should help in the quest to beat those numbers. How about a new goal of New York to Los Angeles in, say, ten minutes?
Tesla wants to give the Roadster the longest driving range of any EV available, and the current goal is 620 miles. That shouldn’t be too hard to achieve with a 200 kWh battery pack and the new model’s superb aerodynamics.
|Five of the coolest things we can expect from Tesla’s forthcoming next-gen Roadster (YouTube: Cleanerwatt)|
Speaking of aerodynamics, Tesla is also on a mission to minimize the Roadster’s coefficient of drag (Cd). This much-misunderstood figure doesn’t tell the whole story of a vehicle’s aerodynamics, but for an EV, it’s of prime importance, because a lower Cd translates to greater range. Some figures for comparison: Elon Musk has speculated that “with extreme effort,” the surprisingly-aerodynamic Cybertruck “might hit a 0.30 drag coefficient, which would be insane for a truck.” A Cd of 0.30 is roughly equivalent to that of a Corvette — a typical pickup truck’s Cd is more like 0.39. The newly-refreshed Tesla Model S claims a Cd of 0.208, an improvement over the previous 0.23. Model 3 and Model Y also score a 0.23 Cd, and the Porsche Taycan edges them out with a 0.22. What’s the most aerodynamic EV of all time? According to Cleanerwatt, it’s the ill-fated GM EV1, which reached 0.19. For the Roadster’s designers, that sounds like the number to beat. (The folks at Aptera, who are on a mission to design the most efficient EV ever built, may have something to say about that.)
Now, all these performance achievements may be impressive, but the new Roadster’s most unique, innovative feature will surely be — wait for it — a novel single-blade windshield wiper! Yes, Tesla’s engineers have been hard at work improving on the century-old windshield wiper. The company proposed and patented a laser beam-based wiper system for Cybertruck, and now it has filed a patent on an “electromagnetic wiper system [that] may include a linear actuator…a guide rail and an electromagnetic moving block.”
The space-age wiper is supposed to be able to clean “the entire transparent area” of the windshield, and can be completely hidden under the hood when not in use, improving appearance and aerodynamics. (Hopefully this weird and wonderful wiper will be more successful than Model X’s innovative-but-irritating magnetic sun visors.)
There can be no doubt that, when the new Roadster finally arrives, Tesla will have to find some new adjectives for it — it will be beyond “insane,” “ludicrous,” or even “plaid.” What is in doubt is the date that this sanity-challenging vehicle will appear, and your guess, dear reader, is probably as good as any. Cleanerwatt’s guess: sometime in 2022.